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Dee Thresher’s 5 simple stretches to ease lower back pain

Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition to manage. With more people working from home, potentially using unsuitable desk set-ups and unable to keep moving, the discomfort of pain may feel more heightened than ever.

80% of people we surveyed* said that they suffer from some form of back or joint pain which can impact their everyday life.

Fortunately, staying physically active and discovering the ‘Joy of Movement’ may be an effective and cost-efficient way to soothe it.

Health and fitness expert Dee Thresher has shared 5 simple exercises that you can implement into your daily routine.

Please consult your GP before starting any new form of exercise – particularly if you have an injury or health concern. If these exercises cause any pain please stop immediately.

Cobra

Cobra is a great pose for strengthening the spine, stretching your chest, shoulders, and abdomen. It’s particularly useful if you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk.

Instructions:·   Lie face down on the floor and place your hands directly underneath your shoulders with your elbows tucked in close to your body.·   On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pelvis to your legs.

·   Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.

Tips:Don't overdo the backbend. Find the height at which you can work comfortably and avoid straining your back.

If you are very stiff, try practicing Cobra standing up instead of on the floor. Stand facing a wall and place your palms against the wall, with your elbows hugged in to your sides. As you press against the wall, draw your shoulder blades firmly into your upper back and broaden across your collar bones.

Child's pose

Child’s Pose is a beginner’s yoga pose often performed to rest between more difficult poses. The position stretches the thighs, hips and ankles and helps relax the body and mind.

Instructions:

·  Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs.

·  On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground. Rest in the pose for as long as needed.

Tips:

If you feel like you need some extra support, you can place a rolled-up towel on top of or underneath your thighs.

If it’s more comfortable, widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.

Seated spinal twist

This classic twist works your hips, glutes, and back. It increases mobility in your spine and stretches your abdominals, shoulders, and neck.

Instructions:

· Begin by sitting tall, extending both legs in front of you. Bend the right knee and cross it over the left thigh, then bend the left knee (you can keep your left leg straight if necessary).

·  Take the left elbow and place it on the outside of the right knee, then place the right hand on the floor behind you, looking over your right shoulder.

·  Hold and breathe deeply for 15 to 30 seconds, and release. Switch sides and repeat.

Tips:

If you find bending your supporting leg too challenging, keep it extended straight in front of you with your foot flexed.

Alternatively, you can increase the depth of this pose by releasing your twist slightly on your inhales, then twisting a little further on your exhales.

Knee to chest

In order to stretch the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes, try the knee to chest stretch. It's a wonderful way to restore flexibility following an afternoon of gardening or housework or after a day at the computer.

Instructions:

·  Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

·  Gently raise one bent knee up enough so you can grasp your lower leg with both hands. Interlace your fingers just under the knee.

·  Gently pull your bent knee toward you.

·  While you're pulling, try to relax your legs, pelvis and lower back as much as you can.

·  Hold for a few seconds and then release.

·  Repeat on the other side.

Tips:

You can wrap a towel around your leg if it’s hard for your arms toreach.

To deepen the stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head uptoward your knee.

Knee across the chest

This is a great exercise for maintaining strength and flexibility.

Instructions:

·  Bring one knee up towards your chest, drop the knee across your body, and towards the ground. Try to keep your shoulders and back from coming off the ground.

·  Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch legs.

Tips:

Only go as deep into the stretch as is comfortable and pain free.

Take steps to enjoy the Joy of Movement with Voltarol.

To find out more about pains and treatments, visit Voltarol.co.uk. Voltarol Joint Pain Relief 2.32% Gel contains diclofenac diethylammonium. Always read the label.

*80% of 593 over 45’s surveyed in ITV Village Voltarol Research Report March 2020